TokikoFag !ttDV7BKRS6 2008/08/13 (Wed) 17:16 No. 7474
* * *
The only thing on the streets right now, aside from you, is silence. Not even the cicadas sing this evening. At the end of the dark street lies the beginnings of a dirt path. Once leading up to an obscure shrine, it's now well known as path to the Hakurei Shrine: The place through which people, and monsters, enter in to Gensokyo. The only escape from the people that hunt you, the people that don't understand that you're just trying to protect them from the Others.
Pushing off the concrete with your legs, you propel yourself forward, landing on all fours, then pushing off again, leaping through the dark streets, accompanied by naught but the silence. The gate looms before you as you approach, closer and closer with every leap. Planting yourself firmly on the ground, then leaping up, you easily clear the ten foot high, wrought iron gate, landing quietly in the dirt on the other side. One step, no, leap, closer to freedom. The miko may try to stop you, but you're fast. Faster than any human, at least.
Hopping up in to the trees, you resume your journey to the shrine, silently passing from branch to branch, bringing yourself ever closer to that freedom. Freedom from the humans, but not from the Others. You can never be free from the Others until you kill every last one of them. The shrine finally appears in your view, large torii rising from the ground, beyond them, a old style Japanese shrine, surrounded by a stone wall.
Leaping out of the tree, you land softly on the ground near the wall, digging a claw in to the stone and pulling yourself up, climbing to the top. Peeking over the crest of the wall gives you an excellent view of the front of the shrine. Two figures sit outside, one clad in what appears to be a red and white garb. The shrine's miko, of course. The one who will do her best to stop your freedom. The other, a smaller girl in a dress, horns extending from both sides of her head. She laughs and lifts an object to her lips, before flopping on her back and stretching out.
From what you've heard, the border is weak these days. Pushing through the building and out the other side should be enough. The flimsy wooden frame and rice paper walls can't stop you. Perching on top of the wall, the miko spots you. Jumping up from her seat, and raising a stick while pointing a piece of paper at you, she shouts something. But it doesn't matter.
A solid push off the wall sends you hurtling towards the shrine, faster than she can move. A burst of light shoots past you, illuminating the area behind you before fading away. Your body breaks through the walls, and you catch yourself on the floor for a moment, regaining your footing and balance before taking another leap. The walls buckle and shatter as your body rips through them, tearing a straight hole from front to back.
Another shout from behind, and a flurry of needles this time. As the final wall breaks, the tips of the needles impale themselves in your hide, throwing your balance off, but not stopping you. This girl won't stop your freedom, she can't. A final leap clears the wall, a cloud of needles passing you harmlessly as you drop on to the other side, sprinting in to the forest to leave your assailant behind.
* * *
Rain streaks down the sides of the black car as it approaches the gate. It hasn't let up since you got to the building, nor since you left. Ripples of thunder can still be heard in the gray skies. Satou, sitting across from you, picks up a small device and clicks the button on the front, as the large gates heft themselves out of the way.
“Unfortunately,” Satou turns his gaze to you, “Jiro and you walk from here. The driver can't take the car up to the road by himself.” Opening a compartment to his left, Satou removes two small radios and hands them to you and Jiro. “Use these to keep in touch with each other. Mr. Takahashi will remain in the shrine where it's safe and help you to the best of his ability.”
Jiro gives you a smile and a nod, pocketing the radio in his lab coat, before pushing open the door and stepping out of the car. The general stares at you intently as you grab your bag and prepare to leave the car as well, speaking as you step out. “I'd rather not send the Japanese military in to Gensokyo. I expect you to handle this. If you can't, don't bother coming back to the outside.” Slamming the car door in his face, you walk towards the dirt path, Jiro following behind you. As soon as you step on the dirt, you can hear the car streaking off behind you.
The torrents of rain continue to assail you ceaselessly, as you trudge up the trail to the shrine. Behind you, the noise of a throat clearing can be heard. “Duke. I want to ask something of you,” Jiro states quietly.
Tossing a glance over your shoulder, and a curt, “What?”, you continue walking, Jiro managing to keep pace.
“This target Duke. I want you to bring him in alive, for me. I'll toss in some extra on top of what you're being paid, if you make absolutely sure he lives.” Looking behind you, that grim visage that Jiro had on his face earlier has returned.
“What, you want to study him yourself, doc? Can't you study a corpse?” you reply off-handedly. Jiro moves up to your side, walking backwards and looking at you.
“No, Duke. I don't care about studying him. I just think that Kou--,” he coughs, “the subject is still a human inside. Though he has changed, I believe we can salvage his humanity.”
Scoffing at him, you respond, “Youkai are youkai, even if they were once human. Don't give me that crap about 'salvaging his humanity'. I'll still try to bring him in alive anyway, because the department pays more for live subjects.”
He grabs your shoulder, stopping you for a moment. “I see why they employed you. You don't care about youkai, you probably even hate them. This is just a paycheck to you, isn't it, Duke?”
Grabbing the hand on your shoulder, you push him off of you. “I don't hate youkai. Just the ones who've lost their way, Jiro. The same goes for humans.”
He breaks his gaze from you, and the both of you resume the walk to the shrine, silent the rest of the way. The structure finally appears before you, an old Japanese building, constructed of wood and rice paper. Fairly normal, except for the gaping hole passing through one side of the building. On the front porch of the structure stands a young girl, clothed in the standard fare of a shrine maiden, a stick in one hand and a large ribbon planted firmly on her head.
Passing through the torii, and past the stone walls, you enter the courtyard of the shrine. She stares you down from a distance, arms crossed in defiance. Step by step, you slowly approach the main structure and the woman, her resolve unwavering, as her eyes pierce through you to the very core.
She finally speaks as you reach her, pointing that stick in your face as she does so, “It took you long enough to get here. They said you'd be coming a few days ago. I have some idea of what you're here for, and we can talk inside. But first, I'd like to know who you and your friend are.” That hostile gaze passes from you, to Jiro, and then back to you again.
[ ] Introduce yourself, and then Jiro.
[ ] Cross your arms, meet her gaze and stare her down. You won't let this girl intimidate you.
[ ] Push past the girl without saying anything.
[ ] Push her aside, stating, “I don't have time for you, little girl. I've got a youkai to catch.”
[ ] Write-in.